Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of ON Semiconductor (UNKNOWN:ONNN.DL) finished Friday with a gain of roughly 11% after the semiconductor component specialist reported better-than-expected results for its fiscal fourth quarter on Thursday evening.
So what: ON's revenue came in at $864.2 million for the quarter, and its adjusted earnings were $0.17 per share. Both results edged out Wall Street's expectations for $856.1 million on the top line and $0.16 in EPS. The results may have topped Wall Street, but they were a mixed bag when compared to ON's year-ago quarter -- the company's top line improved by a mere 3.7% year over year, and its EPS actually fell by 15% from last year's result.
However, full-year results of $3.16 billion in revenue and $0.75 in adjusted EPS represented improvements of 13.6% and 41.5%, respectively, over 2013's results. These full-year results also narrowly beat Wall Street's projections, which had called for $3.15 billion in revenue and $0.74 in EPS.
Looking ahead, ON now expects its revenue for the first quarter of 2015 to range from $840 million to $880 million, which will produce gross margins ranging from 33.4% to 35.4%. Based on the other guidance in ON's report, it appears that the company expects its first-quarter adjusted EPS to range from $0.12 to $0.23. ON's first-quarter top-line guidance is quite a bit better than Wall Street's revenue projections of $843.6 million, but the rough guidance offered for its profitability metrics merely hits the $0.17 EPS consensus in the middle.
Now what: This was undoubtedly a good report, and ON's full-year revenue brings it to within 5% of its all-time best top line, which it reached during the 2011 fiscal year. However, the company continues to have difficulty improving its EPS, which has slowly yo-yoed into narrower and narrower bands during the past decade. That makes it somewhat hard to justify ON's 26.5 P/E, and the company won't report its latest cash flow figures until it publishes its official 10-K report in the coming days. If those cash flow numbers remain as good as they have been -- ON's price-to-free-cash-flow ratio was just 17.1 -- ON might be worth a closer look.